November 5th, 2010

King George VI film which made Firth cry

Link #61

I love Google Alerts. It helps me find hidden gems around the Internet like this 1938 newsreel of King George VI clearly showing his stuttering during a speech in front of a packed stadium.

Ever since I saw The King’s Speech at the Toronto International Film Festival, I wondered how accurately the star, Colin Firth, portrayed the king’s stuttering. Were films and records available to give the actor guidance?

According to this article from the British Pathé Blog, there was! And it moved both the actor and director, Tom Hooper, to tears. It was from seeing King George VI suffering and struggling to speak his words as best as he could.

In my opinion, Lionel Logue, the royal speech therapist who is also the center of attention in The King’s Speech, did a fine job. As you watch the newsreel (click here!), note how the king soldiers on, standing up straight and keeping his composure until the end.

THAT’S success in my book.

As a fellow stutterer, I can’t help but feel it being cool to see someone so giant and famous have the exact same stuttering experiences as me (well, I never made any speeches in stadiums …yet). Note his eyes blinking during a block and there are a few times when his blocks are quite long. Us fellow stutterers know exactly what’s going through his mind.

“If the king can do it, then so can I” is a phrase I’ve heard from British stutterers who grew up listening to the king speaking on the radio.

Warning: There’s lots of loud static in some places throughout the newsreel.

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2 Responses to “King George VI film which made Firth cry”

  1. Pam

    Thank you for sharing this. I thought it was great too. But I also thought, that if one were just listening and not seeing his facial expressions and brief moments of discomfort, that one might think he was using pauses purposely for effect.
    I could see what he was feeling, for his emotion was plain as day, and I too thought it was an incredibly courageous act, given what we as pws know can be agony. I recently saw something on one of the stuttering email groups that Brits are amused that the US has indeed rated the film “R” due to the therapists encouragement to the King to use profane language.
    Thanks again for sharing this.
    Pam

  2. guy bennett

    I’ve stuttered most of my life. It strikes me as odd that both Churchill and the King had such a tough time. The most therapeutic thing for me has been rhythm in speech. England has Shakespeare, Marlowe and any number of iambic pentameter writers. The other thing is the Mel Tillis syndrome, you can sing, but you can’t talk. So I learned to talk in rhythm, plus improved my vocabulary. Anger helps too. I never stutter when people make fun of my stutter. I can tell them what I think of them, just fine. Marilyn Monroe was also a stutterer. It is just one of a number of things people need to overcome. God Bless the King.

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